Duck farming is very popular and absolutely a lucrative business. Ducks are highly available around the world. There are numerous meat and egg productive duck breeds available throughout the world. All the present domestic ducks around the glove come from the wild birds. Those wild birds wonder around the world, and some of them have been domesticated as a good source of food. Almost all those wild birds are from mallard species. Incidentally, all hen of the world comes from red wild hen. You might know that, ducks are aquatic organism. Some people think that, duck without water and pond without water are the same. Even, some people think, ducks can’t live without water. But it’s totally wrong. You can not imagine pond without water, but duck can be raised without water. Thousands of ducks can be raised without water by keeping them inside house, in the same way you raise chickens or other types of poultry birds. But, keep in mind that, in case of raising ducks without water ‘your ducks will lay unfertilized egg’. That means you can’t hatch the eggs for producing ducklings. If you want fertile eggs, male ducks and water are essential. You can easily raise ducks without water, they just need water for reproduction or mating purposes.
Advantages of Duck Farming
There are numerous advantages of starting duck farming business. In many countries, ducks rank next to chicken for meat and egg production. You can raise ducks in both commercial and small scale meat or egg production purpose. Even, you can raise some ducks on your own backyard with other birds or animals. Some notable advantages of duck farming business are shortly described here.
- Ducks need less expensive, simple and non-elaborate housing facilities. As a result housing costs are very less for setting up commercial duck farming business.
- Ducks are very hardy bird and they need less care or management. They can adopt themselves with almost all types of environmental conditions.
- They lay eggs either at night or in the morning. So you can collect their fresh eggs every morning :). And you can do your other work during rest of the day and you don’t have to spend time for caring your ducks.
- You need comparatively less space for raising ducks. Ducks have comparatively shorter brooding period and ducklings grow faster. Ducklings grow so fast that, you can dispense artificial heat within their 5 to 7 days. Although they will require a little longer heating period during cold months.
- Ducks are highly resistant to the common avian diseases.
- You can feed your ducks with a wide variety of foods. A duck’s regular food includes cassava, copra, corn, rice, fruits and any other low cost and easily available foods. They also have the natural tendency of foraging on aquatic weeds, algae, green legumes, fungi, earthworms, maggots, snails, various types of insects etc. which directly reduce feeding cost.
- You can also use your ducks for controlling apple snails or some other harmful insects from your garden.
- Ducks have less mortality rate and usually they live longer than chickens. In case of egg production, ducks lay eggs for a long time period.
- Duck products such as eggs and meat have a great demand in the local and international market. So commercial duck farming business can be a great source of earning. There are already many successful farmers who are making a high profit from their duck farming business.
- Duck farming business can also be a stable employment source. Young unemployed educated people can join this business and make their own employment source.
Peculiarity of Ducks
The body of the ducks is fully covered with oily feathers, so water can’t directly enter inside their body. Ducks have a layer of fat under their skin, which helps them from getting wet. For this reason, if ducks spend a couple of hours in water, their body remain dry. Another peculiarity of duck is their legs. There are three fingers on their legs and covered with thin skin (which is called ‘web’). It works as the paddle of a boat. Finger ends in nail. Some species of ducks use their nails for defending themselves. Generally the lip of ducks are red or orange colored and become very strong. With this lip they can eat moss, insects, fish egg, hard snail etc. They send almost everything inside their stomach, which they found between their lip. Usually hens lay egg all over the day, but ducks lay eggs at night or in the morning. So don’t allow your ducks to go out from their house before 9 am. If you observe ducks very closely, you will find that they are very clever and intelligent. You can spent your leisure time easily by watching their activities.
Ducks generally eat almost all types of food they find edible. You can feed your ducks like chickens. But you have to add some extra additives into duck feed. As some ducks lay more eggs than hens, so you have to be very careful about feeding your ducks. Add necessary nutrient elements in their diet. Always provide your ducks nutritious feed according to the various types of duck breeds and their growth rate. For small scale or domestic duck farming, you can feed your ducks rich bran, kitchen waste and a plenty of snails. Always keep in mind that, ducks eat a lot of food daily. So you have to feed them well-balanced food if you want proper egg and meat production.
Duck’s Eggs and Meat Market
Marketing duck products (egg and meat) is very easy. People all over the world like duck egg and meat from the ancient time. In some areas, people like duck eggs and meat more than chicken meat or eggs. Duck eggs are usually larger in size than chicken eggs. In some areas duck meat is less popular than their eggs. However, there is no tension about the marketing of ducks eggs and meat. You can try to determine the demand of duck products in your local market.
There are numerous duck breeds available throughout the world. Although all of those breeds are not suitable for commercial duck farming business. Some of those breeds are suitable for egg production and some are ideal for commercial meat production. Usually ducks are of three types according to their production type.
Meat Duck Breeds
There are numerous duck breeds available which are famous for meat production. Peking, Ayleshbari, Maskovi, Ruel Kagua and the Swiden ducks are most popular for meat production. Usually meat productive male ducks weight about 5 kg and female weight about 4 kg.
Layer Duck Breeds
Indian Runner is a popular layer duck breed and very famous for their egg production capability. There are three types of Indian runner ducks available. White and grayish Indian runners are good layers. Khaki Campbell ducks are also very popular duck breed for high egg production.
Meat & Layer Duck Breeds
Khaki Campbell ducks are suitable for both meat and egg production. They came from Indian Runner and Ruel Kagua. Indian runners are famous for egg production and second one is popular for meat production.
The main advantages of duck farming is their simple accommodation. Making a duck house is very easy. You can keep your ducks in low, high, wet, dry and any other places. Ducks like watery and wet place to live. You can easily make a suitable place for your ducks by using a big fruit basket, wood-speech or oil drum. Just put these in a suitable place. Always make a door for entrancing and exiting, wherever you keep the ducks. The door need to be high enough. Because duck enter inside the house raising their head higher. Their house must have to be well ventilated and you have to ensure sufficient flow of fresh air inside the house. Usually each duck will require 2 to 3 square feet flooring space. You also have to be ensure the safety of your ducks. Keep them free from all types of harmful animals or predators, especially from fox and dog. If you want to keep your ducks like chickens, in a concrete floored house, then you have to make a deep liter inside the house. And it will be better if the liter depth between 5-6 inches. In this system, your ducks will lay eggs on the floor.
Water is a must for breeding purpose. Usually ducks don’t mate without water. One male duck is sufficient for breeding 10 female ducks. Usually high quality and productive duck breeds start laying eggs at their five months of age. Each egg weights about 50 to 60 grams. You can use hens for hatching the eggs, instead of ducks. Do not keep the newly born ducklings in water during their first week, after birth. Because they can get cold if you allow them to water. Usually duck eggs take about 28 days to hatch. During the hatching period, sprinkle the eggs with water occasionally (two or three times per week). You can use both electronic or diesel incubators for hatching their eggs. But many farmer prefer hens than incubator for hatching.
You have to store the eggs properly. You can use refrigerator for storing the eggs. Lime water or pyraphine can be used for egg storing purpose. Some people also use actinium glass water.
It is not so difficult to determine the sex of newly born duckling. Raise up the tail of the duckling and press on its ass. If you notice there is a penis like thorn, then it will be male. And if not then it will definitely be a female duck. The easiest way to determine male ducks is, the tail feathers of male ducks are curled up.
Before marketing duck eggs, clean the dirt of egg shell perfectly. Don’t wash the eggs with water. You can clean the eggs with knife, soiled paper or towel. Use egg basket or carton for caring eggs from one place to another place. You should choose such cartoon so that each cartoon can contain at least 30 eggs. You can also use bamboo basket, wooden box and other things for transporting eggs to the market or another destination. Make a deep layer of straw or rice bran if you use such boxes for caring eggs.
However, for making maximum profits from duck farming business, you have to be more careful on taking care of ducks, feed management, accommodation, brooding and marketing. If all the process are done well, then you can make a handsome income from this business.